Research interests of the Darko group center on developing efficient and selective catalysts through novel design concepts. Our group investigates this in the areas metal-carbene chemistry and organocatalyzed reactions. Current research involves designing novel ligands that enhance the selectivity and reactivity of dirhodium(II) paddlewheel complexes for synthetic methods and sensing applications.
DESIGN OF NOVEL LIGANDS FOR DIRHODIUM(II) CATALYSTS
Dirhodium(II) paddlewheel complexes are extensively studied for their abilities as catalysts for cyclopropanation reactions and C-H insertion reactions. By the judicious choice of ligand, one can obtain products with remarkable selectivity. Most strategies of tuning reactivity and selectivity of the dirhodium complexes involve modification of the bridging ligands. We are interested in developing dirhodium(II) paddlewheel complexes with novel ligands that introduce additional control elements in order to enhance catalyst selectivity and reactivity.
STRAIN ACCELERATED ORGANOCATALYZED REACTIONS
This research focuses on increasing the scope of organocatalyzed reactions by incorporating strain in the organocatalyst and/or the substrates. Cycloaddition reactions in particular, could benefit from accelerated reactivity and will be designed to afford rapid access to structurally complex products in a regio- and stereocontrolled manner.